Editor’s Note: Winners of the Causey Awards were nominated by their peers for their outstanding achievements and important contributions to the Human Capital Management field in 2009. Nominators were asked to answer various questions about the nominee including, how did this person go above and beyond in 2009 and what is the impact of this person’s work? Their answers have been posted below. To see the complete list of Causey Award winners click here.
The 2010-2015 OPM Strategic Plan includes the goal, “To help agencies recruit and hire the most talented and diverse Federal workforce possible to serve the American people.”
Jennie Liming of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) works to support this goal every day. Given the maturity of the FAS workforce, one of its many human capital initiatives was to create, implement and manage a new Early Career Professional Development Program (ECPDP).
Jennie was hired in October 2008 to launch and lead the ECPDP in 2009 – and she has done so with passion. The ECPDP is a two-year developmental program that focuses on entry level talent to create a pipeline for two mission critical occupations – contract specialist and program analyst.
As ECPDP program director, Jennie led the creation of recruitment strategy and materials; recruited at local colleges and universities; created innovative on-boarding processes; created an interactive Career 101 session; outlined training curricula and established developmental rotational cycles. Nationwide, there are 31 interns in Class 1 of which 21 directly report to Jennie. The other 10 ECPDP interns participating in the program are stationed across the country and report to their respective region. Class 2 of FAS’ ECPDP will add an additional 30 interns in the summer of 2010. Like Class 1, some of the interns will be stationed in FAS’ Washington, D.C. central office and the balance will be stationed and participate in the program from FAS’ regional offices located across the country.
The famous scholar Robert Burton said “a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself.” Jennie is the giant that lifts others with her passion for public service and her single-minded determination that successful and fulfilling careers can be planned and nurtured in the Federal sector. Jennie brought that passion and determination into planning each phase of the recruitment and development process. She carefully researched industry best practices and inserted generational insights into her program design. For recruiting, she began the process of establishing long-term relationships with university career centers and created colorful recruitment materials displaying a diverse and fresh-faced group of young adults. She brought the best of GSA with her onto campus to attract top talent.
After on-campus recruiting was completed, Jennie provided intern candidates the opportunity to meet FAS leadership and led both leaders and candidates through an entertaining round of “speed-dating” mini-interviews. Once job offers were made, Jennie was determined to immediately bond the new hires with GSA by pairing each intern with a GSA “buddy” to answer questions to assist in preparing them for their first day of work at GSA and for living in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The focus on bonding continued in a two-week “Career 101” session, where Jennie planned training and activities designed to bond this cohort of interns through self-discovery, workplace basics, and other exercises to transition these employees from “backpack to briefcase.” Not only did Jennie plan each phase but using the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, she passionately taught her new interns to realize their strengths and how they can best maximize those strengths to find happiness in their careers while at the same time adding value to the organization.
In planning for Class 2, Jennie updated her recruitment strategy to use the power of the Class 1 cohort to participate in the university recruitment, share their self-generated intern newsletter, and demo their mini-video. Jennie’s goal is to manage a program that will serve GSA for years to come by having each class mentor and recruit the next class. Jennie’s focus is on developing these interns and making sure they have the tools and resources necessary for success. This, however, is not just her job, it is her passion. Class 1 of the FAS ECPDP is already setting the bar for the program, receiving positive feedback from leadership and management across FAS and GSA.
IMPACT: The recruitment challenge for GSA is to demonstrate how meaningful its mission to support other federal agencies really is. We don’t fight wars or count populations – but we enable DoD and the Census Bureau to meet their very important missions. Jennie Liming is the consummate champion of GSA and FAS. Her positive nature and overt pride in GSA have enabled her to attract and retain great employees for GSA. “I came to GSA because of Jennie – her positive energy and enthusiasm made my decision very easy” – said a Class 1 FAS ECPDP intern.
Hiring the best person for the job required in the federal government is not easy as demonstrated with headline news. Celebrating Jennie’s strategic nature, her passion for GSA and her commitment to hiring highly qualified employees is important. Even more important is her demonstrated commitment to developing employees for today and connecting them to GSA and/or public service for the future. The ECPDP is one of FAS’ most strategic Human Capital initiatives underway and with Jennie’s leadership and passion the program consistently receives accolades across the FAS organization.